The Time To Come

I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry”. (2 Timothy 4:1–5, NKJV, emphasis added).

In his letter to Timothy, Paul provided a warning about “times to come”. Today we like to think that everything is happening for the first time in history. But we are wrong. At the end of Paul’s third missionary journey, he called the elders of the church in Ephesus over to Miletus and gave them a similar warning, “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves” (Acts 20:29–30). If you study the history of churches you will find that this is one thing that happened to the church at Ephesus. But it did not just happen at Ephesus, it happened all over the region and now extends worldwide. Often overlooked is the fact that this is addressed to the church and those who claim to be Christians. We are called to be on guard for this type of behavior. Instead of being on guard, we have fallen and are struggling to get up and be relevant again.

With information only an arm’s length away since we cannot go anywhere without our “smartphones”, we now believe everything we read without doing any research on our own. Even satirical columns have become people’s battle cries and rally points (see https://babylonbee.com/). Something I have learned while working on my seminary degrees is that resources used to defend any thesis must be scholarly. Some commentaries, books, and articles do not meet this criterion. The question becomes, does it align with God’s Word and His truth. Since the middle of March, I can attest that Christianity is suffering due to not enduring sound doctrine because of our itching ears. This must stop if we are going to rise and stand. “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

In the brief amount of time I visit social media sites, I am amazed at the amount of “posts” I see from people who are supposedly working 8+ hours a day and then to busy or tired to worship on Sunday. All the while they are still able to continue “posting” on social media sites. The “times to come” are here and we have been warned. There is a falling away happening due itchy ears and not believing sound doctrine, and it is happening in the church. Many are tossed about like a ship on the ocean that has lost power. Outside forces now control that ship by the wind and the waves. Outside forces are controlling many who claim to be a believer.

These times should not surprise us, but they do because we like to think we have progressed beyond the issues of the past and they will no longer come around. We are seeing everything we need to see that should drive us into times of fervent prayer and fasting. Everything written about the last days are unfolding before our eyes. God has spoken and is speaking clearly today. Who / what are you listening to? Let me challenge you to spend twice as much time reading your Bible as you do reading an article, watching a You-Tube video, scrolling for a “meme” that suits your preference, or sharing a “post”

Two 2020’s

My last note asked the question, “Where do we go from here?” (see Dec 30 note). Going into 2020, everything was normal, and life was moving along at a steady, doable, pleasing, and might I say, easy pace. Until the word “coronavirus” surfaced and started grabbing headlines.

We, like most people. “brushed” aside the thought of not being ready for what is now known as COVID-19. We assumed the World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control had a plan to curtail any virus out there. We were wrong! The year 2020 might need to be labeled 2020 BC (Before Corona) and 2020 AC (After Corona). March 8, 2020 was the last time I preached to my full congregation in our sanctuary. Sunday, March 15, I preached for the last time to anyone sitting in the seats in the sanctuary. On Monday the executive orders started flying for the president, governor, and mayor on restricting the number of people that would be considered safe to gather as this virus spread. That number was ten (10).

It was at that moment that God changed every priority in at least 95% of churches worldwide (only my opinion on that %). Regardless, it changed my priorities on church life and the agendas I had set to begin to accomplish for the next three years. It was like a scene from Forrest Gump when Lt. Dan asked Forrest while they were trying to figure out how to catch shrimp “So where is this God of yours?” To which we hear, “Right then, God showed up.” Everything changed for Forrest and LT Dan when God showed up. Everything has changed and continues to change now that God has shown up and reminded us as the church to see and do the Great Commandments (Love God, Love your neighbor).

We were working our vineyard and beginning to get “messy” when all this happened. We were making plans on how to best utilize some grant money to help us in the revitalization process. But God interrupted our plans and is reminding us, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the LORD. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Is 55:8–9, NKJV).

We have not met together now for a month; everything is now streaming live online. A project we were slowly working on, but it was only on simmer on the back burner. God moved it to the big front burner and turned the knob to high. He moved us from no streaming to fully up and running in four days. Yes, there were hiccups on March 22, but that is because social media was not prepared for thousands of churches to “go live” at 10:30 AM (Eastern Daylight Time) and the bandwidth could not handle it all. This too was corrected by the next Sunday. People and businesses were adapting as fast as they could and in the best manner they could to keep moving forward.

So, the new “where do we go from here?’ answer is, forward with God. Church will not be the same again, we have entered the “digital / virtual” church age. We must not return to the status quo we were enveloped in that became a horrible stench in the nostrils of God. If we do, we have missed a part of God’s message to the church. On average we were having 85 attend church this year. In three weeks, we are seeing over 300 “attend” church with us on a weekly basis. Church is not about “numbers”, but it is about souls. God has shown us the way to spread the gospel to the nations and reminds us it must be done outside the four walls of a building.

This [COVID-19] will pass. Let us not let God pass us by because we refuse to move forward with Him so that we can return to the “church we prefer” in 2020 BC.

Into The Future

Where do we go from here? A decade is closing out in just a few days (writing this on Dec 30, 2019). We will never see another 2019, it is about to be gone…forever. Looking back, it is hard to fathom that we are about to enter the year 2020. This idea seemed far-fetched back in the days of my youth, since everything related to the future on TV was dealing with living in outer space, traveling to far away galaxies, driving flying vehicles, and even teleportation possibilities. I can remember thinking back in the late 1990’s that there was no way this world would even be around long once we enter the twenty-first century. Yet here we are, twenty years into this century.

We are twenty years past the dreaded days of Y2K (some of you may need to Google this term). The entire world practically stayed up in 1999 on New Year’s Eve just to see if the world was going to end due to a computer code that could “crash” systems and send us into a financial and nuclear holocaust. Since you are reading this, you realize that did not happen. A simple reminder that God is in complete control of everything.

Since September of 2003, God has been gracious to me and my family and planted me here as the pastor of this church. Every now and then, I will briefly look back so I can learn from my past and my failures. Yes, there are things I would do differently to have equipped and aided this church for the future. I only briefly look back, because God is always moving forward. In a car, the rear-view mirror is small, and the windshield is large for a reason. Where do we go from here? I hope we learn and press on. I know that is what I am going to do. “But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus” (Php 3:13–14 CSB).

The question of “Where do we go from here”, can only be answered by us as individuals. I must answer the question, “Where do I go from here?” I found my answer in the book of Proverbs. I believe this is the vision God has placed on my heart for this church, not just the year 2020, but until He calls us home. “Complete your outdoor work, and prepare your field; afterward, build your house” (Pr 24:27). Part of this work has been completed through the help of a friend of mine and the Florida Baptist Convention. I have placed in our deacons hands a demographic survey of our community and will soon share this with the church. We know what our field looks like now and what the projection looks like through 2022.

Now, here comes the part that will require us to “get dirty”. “I went by the field of a slacker and by the vineyard of one lacking sense. Thistles had come up everywhere, weeds covered the ground, and the stone wall was ruined. I saw, and took it to heart; I looked, and received instruction: a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the arms to rest, and your poverty will come like a robber, and your need, like a bandit” (Pr 24:30–34). Pay attention to that last part, we can no longer circle the mountain of apathy, it will ruin us. Our field is ripe for the harvest. Our mission field must be worked. People need to be engaged by the church to know that the church cares. Sure, we will get a few that come that searched for “churches near me” on their smartphones, but that is not going to show Atlantic Beach and the Mayport Naval Base that we care about where they will spend eternity. There are over 13,000 people in our mission field of Atlantic Beach alone. The projection for Navy families stationed at Mayport by 2022 is over 30,000.

Our vineyard needs work and I am calling us into a year long work that will get messy. But I promise you this, the reward far outweighs and mess you might experience. This work might make some of you uncomfortable. This work might cause you to “loose your seat” during a worship service. This work might cause you to change your idea of who your neighbor really is. Everyone will have a part in this, and every part is important. Some of you will need to be our praying warriors, because you are not able to walk the neighborhood. We will provide you a guide of the area you can pray over. Some will walk the neighborhood and do the inviting (we are in the process of getting new outreach doorhangers that provide the invitation). Some of you will make one on one personal visits to our guests that begin to come. It will take all of us working side by side together, just as the Israelites did in rebuilding the wall under Nehemiah’s leadership (Read Nehemiah 3).

Where do we go from here? We go where God leads and we go via His directions. “Do you not say, ‘There are still four months and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look at the fields, for they are already white for harvest! And he who reaps receives wages, and gathers fruit for eternal life, that both he who sows and he who reaps may rejoice together. For in this the saying is true: ‘One sows and another reaps” (John 4:35–37). In 2020, may our knees hurt from the hours spent on them in praying to the Lord of the harvest and let us be proud to show the dirt, scrapes, cuts, and bruises on our hands as we work our vineyard.

 

God Bless you all as we work and serve together for His glory,

Pastor Greg

Happy Thanksgiving / Merry Christmas

We are entering my favorite time of year. Since 2015 I have been enrolled in college / seminary at Liberty University, so not only is this the Thanksgiving / Christmas time of year for me, it also ends the fall semester and I go on a long winter break form school. Lord, willing I will complete my M-Div in Biblical Studies this summer. A quick word of advice to the younger generation, get you college education early in life if you can, I wish I had done all of this twenty-five years ago.

I love this time of year. The weather gets cooler (my A/C gets a break), there is a buzz in the air about Christmas and Thanksgiving gives my family a chance to get together and enjoy the day. Yes, it can get hectic, but I love seeing the smiles on their faces and the groans from eating to much a few hours later. We have a tradition around my house that involves baking cinnamon rolls and watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and while over the years that has evolved into just me and my wife, it still makes us smile because our children are carrying on that tradition. Macy’s has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, and it is this parade that “escorts” Christmas into our home. I hope you have some fond Thanksgiving traditions that you still do that always make you smile.

Christmas brings great joy to me, especially with a three-year old grandson. This year he is going to help me decorate the house with lights and inflatables. I cannot wait for him to help me! We get to talk about Christmas and what it means as we put up the nativity scene and how it is the time of year we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Connor (my grandson) loves to ask questions and I am thrilled to answer them in a way a three-year old can understand. Yes, we also talk about Santa Claus, elves, reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, and everything else he wants to talk about. The beauty in all this is the joy I see in him when we talk about all these parts of Christmas. The angels told the shepherds, “I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people” (Luke 2:10, NKJV).

That is what I do during this holiday season. I try to bring good tidings of great joy to everyone I encounter. I invite you to join me in doing the same to everyone you meet. As the classic Burl Ives song says:

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

It’s the best time of the year

I don’t know if there’ll be snow

But have a cup of cheer

Have a holly, jolly Christmas

And when you walk down the street

Say hello to friends you know

And everyone you meet.

 

God Bless you all and from my family to yours….Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas.

My “Good Thing”

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from the LORD (Proverbs 18:22)

I am going to take the time in this note to brag on my wife. Kathy and I have been married for 35 years and when we married many people said we would not last 5 years. I do not look at her and think we have “lasted” a lot longer, I look at her with grateful love and appreciation that she said yes to me. We have been through a lot together.

We married on March 30, 1984 (our first date was December 10, 1983). I deployed on April 23rd for seven and a half months. When I returned, she had our first apartment all set up and ready for our first “home”. She did this without fully understanding everything about being a Navy wife and she did it with magnificently. Spanish Oaks in Charleston, South Carolina will always be special to us.

She gave birth to our son, Jason, on November 29, 1985 at 4:55 AM because she told my mom she was not having Thanksgiving in the hospital. God was good and let her have mom’s thanksgiving meal…then he broke her water just a few hours later. We had no idea how much her life would change in less than a year.

In 1986 a scan revealed a grapefruit sized tumor in her brain. While we were not faithfully following the Lord, we prayed that He would help us, and He did (a reminder that God is faithful even when we are not). Even though Jason’s first birthday was celebrated in Kathy’s hospital room, the tumor was successfully removed. The only complications we had were dealing with a few infections, which called for surgery to remove part of her skull and replace it with a protective mesh. This just means she cannot go on rides at amusement parks that throw you around or get you dizzy. The doctors also told her that because of some of the medications she was on she might not be able to get pregnant again…they were once again wrong. In the summer of 1987, we found out she was pregnant.

Because of the medications she was having to take, this was not an easy pregnancy. Kathy started having seizures and we spent many days rushing to the ER to monitor her and the baby. On March 27, 1988 at 11:36 AM, our daughter Amber made her entrance into this world. She was born a few weeks early and did not like normal formula for a while, but she was healthy and so was Kathy.

Over my 21 years in the Navy we moved almost every 3-5 years, and Kathy was usually the one having to do all the planning and preparing (I was out to sea or on a mission during shore duty). For some reason the Navy always moved us around her birthday (Oct 5), this was an emotional strain for her.

Since 1986, Kathy has been diagnosed with many health issues, many of the hereditary. She has neurofibromatosis (discovered because of brain tumor), equilibrium issues, osteoporosis (especially in her lower back causing chronic pain), arthritis, and most recently fibromyalgia. I write all of this not for anyone to feel sorry for her, she nor I want that, but to say how much I appreciate everything she does when she is able to do them.

Yes, there are times she cannot make it to church or church events due to not being able to move well or simply unable to get out of bed. But this does not mean she is unfaithful to God or His church…she is just in a tremendous amount of physical pain. I would not even wish that my worst enemy had what she has. I miss her deeply when she is unable to be with me at church (she is my strongest support and my helper). I hate traveling alone (except on my hunting trips with my dad). Even when she sleeps in the car while I drive, just having her there means the world to me.

So, if there are times you do not see her, then say a prayer for her. She might be in pain and in bed trying to ease the pain or she might be in the nursery or extended session with our grandson, Connor, and the other children. She loves the children, and she especially loves being Nana to Connor. My wife is an awesome wife, mom, Nana, and friend. She is God’s gift to me, and she strives to be the best pastor’s wife she can be. I love her more than words can express, and I thank God everyday for her. So, I am happy to brag on her in this note, because she makes me proud to be her husband. She truly is my “good thing.”

It’s Personal, Pastor

What if you got everything you always wanted? Would you be satisfied and content? The answer to that question is NO you would not, because you would then have to deal with the issue of opposition from others who did not receive everything they wanted. Personal preferences are just that, personal to the individual that desires them. Therefore, you will never find your “perfect” church.

For many years, I was “away” from church because of how I was treated after my parents were divorced in 1981. For some reason “Christians” have made divorce the “unpardonable sin”, and I was ostracized by the church family I grew up with for the first sixteen years of my life. But that is for another post later. I tell you that to say it was then that I stayed away from church, because churches did not meet my preferences. I made a “mental” list of what a church must look like for me to return. It was an unachievable list, but one that I justified within myself. People still make these lists today causing them to stay away from church but justifying their actions.

So, what are your personal preferences that hinder you from being where God wants you? Musical style, preaching style, Bible translation used, small groups meeting away from the church instead of in a Sunday school environment, how people “dress” for worship, activities for your children, ministries offered by the church. You can continue your list as you would like, because this is not all inclusive, nor is it based on things at this church…these are just from over sixteen years of observance as a pastor in a small church. Have we forgotten the cost of following Jesus, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Lk 9:23)?

Notice my question above has asked you what it is that hinders you from being where God wants you. A hindering heart is a non-serving heart and a heart that God will not use for kingdom work. There is a great need in the church today to put away all personal preferences and focus on the Great Commandment as we fulfill the Great Commission

Final Thoughts at Christmas 2018

As I sit here looking at what is left of Christmas when you have a two-year-old grandson in the house, I smile at the mess, but I also feel sad that the day is ending. I know that for months we have planned on this day to arrive so we could see the excitement on his face, this was the first year he understood Santa and presents. Even though he is still under the weather, he was overwhelmed with the gifts and is still processing all that this day brought.

I also know that Christmas is not the same for everyone as it is for me and my family. I miss being with my family back in Alabama during the holidays. It has been over ten years since I spent Christmas back home. It was the final Christmas my mom ever had, and we had to celebrate it with her in the hospital. Today, there are many of you that had similar feelings mixed into a day we Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. I spent some time today doing what I could to help a dear friend that was not have a joyous Christmas and it was difficult for her. I spent time thinking on some that this Christmas was their first Christmas without a loved one who had passed away this year. Emotions are high, and low, on this day and as believers we should be sensitive to this so we can better minister to those around us.

So, as Christmas comes to a close in just a few minutes, I want to let you know that you are loved with a love that is greater than any words I can type or say. No matter your circumstance at this moment, God loves you with a love that surpasses anything this world attempts to suppress you through meanness or ugliness. In the brokenness of man’s relationship with God brought on by the fall in the garden of Eden, God promised to send a rescuer to restore fallen man into a right relationship with Him. Christmas reminds us that God keeps His promises. He promised that through the seed of woman would come someone who would crush the head of Satan, while only bruising His heel. This man was born on the day we celebrate Christmas and His name is Jesus. Why did this happen? Because “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16–17, NKJV). May you never forget how much God loves you. God bless you as you press forward into 2019.

 

Another Year

Here we are…Again. Another year is rapidly ending. The saying is true, “the older you get, the faster the years go by.” I cannot believe 2018 is about to be over and we will ring in 2019 (Lord willing) in a few days. Soon you and I will put away the Christmas decorations, make a promise to ourselves to we will do much better in 2019, and some of you will join a gym for the month of January. Just for your information, the worst time to join a gym is now…they will be extremely crowded the first month of the year.

Oh, there will be other promises made besides the standard workout, eat better, and get off soda ones. Christians will make the standard ones too; pray more, read the Bible more, give more (or begin to finally give), and go to church more. There is that false assumption that if I do more, God will love me more and all will in my life. Yes, things will be better by spending more time with God, you will begin to have a close fellowship with Him and He desires for you will become easy to recognize and understand…it will not make Him love you any more than he already does. A central attribute of God is that He is LOVE and love always flows from Him.

As we enter 2019, my challenge to my church is the same it has been for many years…stop trying to do things for God under the false assumptions mentioned above. Instead, be only who God has called you to be in His kingdom work. By being who God has called you to be, others will see Him in you while you simply do those things because of your faith in God to be God. Being causes the doing and the doing is a result of our being in Christ. The apostle Pual wrote, “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:1–4, NKJV). May this be our driving force until the Lord returns.

Critical Spirit

Paul, in his letter to the church at Galatia writes, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” (Gal 5:22–23, NKJV). He is letting believers know that there are “fruits” that should grow from their life showing evidence that they are a child of God. Believers must take notice that these fruits are good in nature and produce healthy fruit that is good for the feeding of one’s soul and that of others.

Do not confuse these fruits with spiritual gifts, they are not the same. Just like a tree planted by a gardener, these trees require cultivation, care, and work to produce the good fruit. In other words, you need to exercise your spirit in the good things to produce good fruit. If you are wondering why you are not seeing these fruits in your own life, you need only do a self-examination and see how you are spending your time. You cannot blame this on someone else, your “demeanor”, or upbringing. Your fruit is based on your work to grow the fruit produce within you. Jesus said, “those things which proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and they defile a man.” (Mt 15:18). The adage is correct, “garbage in, garbage out.”

The self-proclamation of always being critical is nothing to be proud of. It is neither a fruit of the Spirit, not a spiritual gift given to you by God when you became a Christian. While there is the attempt to “justify” this area of one’s life by saying they are “looking out for the best interest of the church (or an individual),’ or “someone has the be the one to make them think of possibilities.” Those “exercising” this “gift”, do nothing but tear a church down and exhaust fruitful church members. They are easy to spot, just say how much you like something that the church, or a ministry within the church, is doing. The response will be their opinion on why it is bad, or the way that it should have be done to really do it right. They are easy to spot because they tear down instead of building up the body of Christ. They are easy to spot because they are your last minute “advise givers” (interpreted as this is how it should have been done and would have been done if I was in charge).

Back up a few verses in Galatians 5 and you find that those with a constant critical spirit have much more in common with the works of the flesh than the fruit of the Spirit. Paul writes you will see their results in, “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like.” (Ga 5:19–21). If you see this list in your life, fruit will not be produced that is Kingdom enriching. It is time to bring these works to the altar, kill them, and burn them up completely. When you do, God will purge you, the good seed will go deep into your heart, and you will produce good fruit by walking every day in the Spirit. What are you producing, “works of the flesh” or “fruit of the Spirit?”

Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Jesus gave his disciples many warnings about a life on mission with Him and for the kingdom. He tells them, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves” (Mt 7:15, NKJV). I do not believe this verse only applies to “spiritual leaders” in a church or religious organization, I believe it applies to everyone claiming to be a “Christian”.

As a pastor / preacher / teacher of God’s Word, I have said many times (as most preachers have) that just because you get dressed up on Sunday morning, that does not make you a Christian. Satan will come to church, and he will show up with many disguises. When the Apostle Paul called the elders from Ephesus to come to Miletus to give them guidance and say his farewells; he said, “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock (Ac 20:28–29). Pay attention to those last four words, “not sparing the flock.”

While sheep will bite, butt heads, and irritate each other every now and then, it is extremely rare for them to bring intense harm to the flock. Most of the time after sheep “bicker” they move past it and mend together with the other sheep. Wolves in sheep’s clothing will do the same, but only long enough to appear as genuine sheep. Read those warnings again and pay attention to the adjectives describing the wolves (ravenous and savages). Wolves will even fall under the authoritative hand of the shepherd, but this too will only last for a short period. Wolves have no problem with attacking and attempting to kill a shepherd.

So, how do we get better at recognizing these pretenders? I believe the answer is found in Jesus’s letter to the church at Ephesus given to John in the book of Revelation. Jesus commends them when He says, “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not and have found them liars; and you have persevered and have patience and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary (Re 2:2–3). It is evident to me here that the elders adhered to the instructions from Paul and tested those who came into the church desiring to be a part of the church. This is where we fail too often in our churches. We get enamored with numbers (though we will never say that out loud). We forget to test those who want to become a part of a precious flock, we stop asking about doctrinal (biblical) beliefs. We want them in the choir, teaching a class, leading a ministry; all for the sake of our “numbers” not looking bad. We must also get better recognizing that wolves will begin to “isolate” some sheep before they attack. They want the sheep to trust them, be their friend, and rely on them for as much as possible.

We should not get upset if someone asks us our beliefs on biblical issues, the sheep in that church are only following the guidance given to them by God. Jesus reminds the apostles (and us), “You will know them by their fruits” (Mt 7:16). Wolves will come, but we can, and should, recognize them.